In the latest interactive monthly data report, SportBusiness Media analyses the handball media-rights landscape.
Further detail on the deals covered in this interactive data report is available with our Rights Tracker tool – click here for more information.
The majority of handball media revenue comes from its most valuable property, the European Handball Federation (EHF) competitions.
The EHF organizes club competitions like the EHF Champions League, the second-tier European Handball League, and the EHF Cup as well as national-team events like the biennial men’s and women’s European Handball Championship competitions.
The EHF has a global media-rights deal with the joint venture comprised of the Infront agency and digital media company DAZN Group, which took on the rights in July this year.
The venture’s 10-season deal, from 2020-21 to 2029-30, is the most lucrative deal in the history of the sport.
The fee is thought to be split about 80:20 between media and marketing rights. It covers rights to all EHF club competitions and national-team events, including the men’s and women’s European Championships in 2022, 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030.
In its previous deal, the EHF earned media and marketing rights from two deals.
The first was with the now-defunct MP & Silva agency for global media rights to the men’s and women’s Champions League, originally from 2013-14 to 2019-20. When MP & Silva collapsed in 2018, the contracts and sales went in-house, directly to EHF Marketing – the commercial arm of the EHF.
The second deal was with Infront for global media and marketing rights to the European Championship competitions of 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
The Infront/DAZN joint venture has secured several media-rights deals to EHF properties across the world, including core markets, like the Nordics, the Balkans, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The most valuable market for the EHF is the Nordics. Pan-Nordic broadcaster Nent acquired rights to the national team and club competitions. The deal covers the men’s and women’s EHF European Championship competitions in 2022, 2024 and 2026; and the EHF club competitions from 2020-21 to 2022-23.
The second-most valuable territory for EHF is the Balkans. Pay-television broadcaster Arena holds rights across the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia) from 2020-21 until 2023-24.
Arena has picked up the rights for the EHF club competitions from 2020-21 to 2023-24; the 2022 and 2024 European Championship competitions; as well as the Beach Handball Euro 2021 and 2023.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary have also provided increased revenues – about 50 per cent – for EHF. Media group AMC Networks holds rights to EHF club competitions from 2020-21 to 2024-25 and rights to the European Championship competitions in 2022 and 2024.
More recently, the Infront/DAZN joint-venture secured deals in challenging markets like Germany, France and Poland, where EHF club competition rights have decreased in value as a result of incumbents, leaving tough market conditions for Infront.
International handball competitions
National team handball competitions, which are managed by the International Handball Federation (IHF), also generate significant media-rights revenue.
In 2018, the IHF signed a global media deal with the Lagardère Sports (now Sportfive) agency over eight years. Initially, the IHF had agreed to an eight-year deal for its global media rights with MP & Silva. Once it became clear the agency was not able to sustain the investment, the IHF terminated the agreement and awarded the rights to the Lagardère Sports agency.
Similarly to the EHF, the IHF’s most valuable market is the Nordics. Nent acquired rights to the IHF men’s and women’s World Championship competitions in 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025. The agreement was initially struck with MP & Silva and it was continued when Lagardère took over the rights. Rights to the men’s and women’s World Championship competitions in 2015 and 2017 across the Nordics were held by a consortium of local broadcasters.
Given the importance of the sport in Denmark, Nent sublicensed rights to the men’s and women’s IHF World Championship competitions in 2019 and 2021, as well as rights to the men’s and women’s EHF Euros in 2022, 2024 and 2026 to commercial broadcaster TV2 Denmark.
Domestic leagues around the world
The German Handball-Bundesliga is the domestic handball league which receives the highest media-rights revenue, for the current 2017 to 2021 cycle. German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF agreed to a four-season deal, from 2017-18 to 2020-21, with an option to extend the deal for two more seasons, until 2022-23. Pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland agreed to a six-season deal, from 2017-18 to 2022-23. Sky is understood to be paying a much larger share of the total annual fee.
In the previous cycle, sports broadcaster Sport1 held Handball-Bundesliga global rights in a five-season deal, from 2012-13 to 2016-17. It then sublicensed international rights to MP & Silva over the same four seasons. In the current cycle, the league decided to sell its international rights itself following low bids following a tender process.
In France, the Ligue Nationale de Handball (LNH) has a deal with pay-television beIN Media Group from 2019-20 to 2022-23, which also includes international rights.
Despite the lack of a significant uplift in the rights fee compared to the previous cycle, the current beIN deal offers far greater visibility to the league than before. Up until last season, all 182 matches from the LNH Division 1, including two prime-time fixtures on Wednesdays and Thursdays, were shown on the beIN Sports channels, while in the previous cycle beIN Sports showed only two live matches per week.
Currently, beIN only broadcasts three matches per week, while the league broadcasts all matches not shown by beIN for free ahead of the probable launch of an OTT streaming service.
Among the Nordic countries, handball is most popular in Denmark.
TV2 Denmark holds rights to the Danish Håndboldligaen in a five-season deal, from 2020-21 to 2024-25. The deal is a renewal of a previous five-season deal, from 2015-16 to 2019-20.
Recently, TV2 sought media-rights rebates on its deals for the Danish Handball League and Danish Handball Cup following cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. TV2 is seeking compensation from the league association – the Divisionsforeningen Håndbold – and the Danish Handball Association (DHF), which sells rights to the cup competition, for the lost inventory from the 2019-20 season, which was cancelled midway through in March.
Norwegian commercial and pay-television TV2 Norway holds rights to all the Norges Håndballforbund’s properties in a five-season deal, from 2017-18 to 2021-22. The federation’s previous two-season deal with media company Discovery covered 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Before losing the rights to Discovery in the 2015-17 cycle, TV2 had held the federation’s rights going back to 1992. Both the Discovery and TV2 deals cover national team and domestic club handball.
Click on each league name to filter historical media-rights value information.